Toronto's Best Street Art: Kensington Market

This dazzling array of street art may or may not change your life.

Kensington Market is known for its eclectic vibes and vast array of diverse dining options. Whether you are looking for unique international delicacies or simply some gluten-free aperitif, Kensington Market has you covered. However, what seems to make Kensington Market so unique and interesting is its sometimes subtle and sometimes in-your-face aesthetics. You will notice as you walk through Kensington there is a feeling of vibrancy and liveliness that comes through the varied establishments and the people around you.

One thing that is constant throughout Kensington Market is its colourful buildings and the beautiful street art that adorn such landmarks. Street art in Toronto is not wholly unique to Kensington Market, but an initial display of Kensington's recognizable and awing street art seems to be an appropriate beginning to Narcity Toronto's review of its city's underrated and eye-popping street art.

Photo cred. - brilliantknitwit

This piece has tons going on including a new take on dogs playing poker and Godzilla. The backdrop for this shot seems to be someone's garage or house, which subsequently provides a playful and slightly intimidating request by means of Godzilla not to park there.

Photo cred. - Carmen Allan-Petale

Here, an Apple-esque laptop molds into the traditional graffiti one would see in a shady back alley-way. This is an interesting take on street art as it suggests that the assemblage of cryptic graffiti to the right of the laptop in fact possesses intelligent intricacies that mirror the workings of our modern-day gadgets.

Photo cred. - stvpefied

This literally eye-catching black and white piece is a sight to see and a staple of Kensington Market street art. The combined pattern of large buildings and the wide-eyed onlookers shown in the piece is fantastic!

Photo cred. - Jennifer Su

The more you look at this one, the more you will see. At first it looks like some sort of prehistoric animal, with jaws and fangs at the bottom, but if you focus near the top you can also see an owl-looking creature. Without mentioning the numerous different flowers also present, this piece is great!

Photo cred. - Jayne Gorman

Seemingly a shout out to jazz legend Miles Davis, one can see this piece as you walk through Kensington Market. It was completed by artist Adrien Hayles at the request of 4 Life Natural Foods, the grocery store below the mural.

Photo cred. - Anastacia

This piece, which draws awesome inspiration from Czech painter Alphonse Mucha, can be found in the heart of Kensington Market. Also, if you look at street level you can catch a glimpse of the Kensington Market garden car which has sat there for over nine years!

Photo cred. - Christine Estima

An homage to Amy Winehouse, this piece is less recognizable and much smaller than the previous works, but it is nonetheless just as poignant and interesting. Here we see the uniqueness and adaptability of street art in relation to the wider realm of "accepted" art (i.e. formal galleries, etc.) as the canvas for this stencil is a doorway and is in turn constantly changing. In this instance, one can still distinguish the portrait of Winehouse even though it is surrounded by relatively crude and indecipherable graffiti. The juxtaposition of the stencil withering away through time, but still keeping its beauty may in fact be symbolic of Winehouse's real-life legacy. Just a thought.

Photo cred. - Doug Taylor

Moving past my Amy Winehouse/art history diatribe, you can find this comical piece at St. Andrew's Poultry on 17 St. Andrews Street in Kensington Market. Titled "Cirque du Poulet," this playful slice of art features numerous clucking caricatures of the Cirque du Soleil act. Seriously though, you cannot go wrong with a painting that features the likes of "Mince Carter" and "George's Bouillon."

Photo cred. - abitmoredetail

The community of Kensington Market looks to be fully protected with the likes of Mr. Rogers and the commanders of the Enterprise making sure everybody is safe. Artist Andrew Lamb, also know as dcmism on Instagram, has posted over seventy different popular culture images on "neighbourhood watch" signs throughout Toronto. Keep an eye out for some of his work next time you are in downtown Toronto.